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4.0 out of 5 stars
61
4.0 out of 5 stars
The Beat That My Heart Skipped [DVD] (2005)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 July 2011
Intelligent, complex character study of small time hood with musical talent trying
to balance his hard and soft sides.

A solid lead performance by Roman Duris, and some good supporting workaround him.
Really nicely shot as well.

But there was something a bit self-conscious, maybe even a bit sophomoric that kept
me from flat out loving it. Still, I'd happily re-see it.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 July 2011
Intelligent, complex character study of small time hood with musical talent trying
to balance his hard and soft sides.

A solid lead performance by Roman Duris, and some good supporting workaround him.
Really nicely shot as well.

But there was something a bit self-conscious, maybe even a bit sophomoric that kept
me from flat out loving it. Still, I'd happily re-see it.
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on 19 March 2006
Tom (Romain Duris) works as a sort of real-estate thug. He and his partners trash buildings in low-income areas, buying them low and selling them high for a quick profit. It's a grotesque scam that involves letting sewer rats loose in target buildings so as to scare out squatters and sometimes paying tenants.
Tom's work is morally corrupt and physically debilitating and Tom manifests this corruptness in the very core of his being: he's depressed, violent, short-tempered and vehemently without empathy and humanity. He is only seemingly nice when a good-looking woman is around and that is only so he can bed her.
Then one day he spots his dead mother's music manager who promises him an audition which draws Tom back into his musical training: something he deserted many years before. Tom throws himself into classical music at first as a challenge to recapture his talent. But what he doesn't initially realize is that music will ultimately prove to be his salvation...turning him from the darkness to the light.
Music has always been something that Tom has associated with what little good he has experienced in his life. To him, music recalls his loving mother. To him, music has always meant love. And he grasps at a life in music like a drowning man grasps at a life preserver. He is as neurotic at reclaiming his musical talent as he is at stealing, drinking, drugging and cheating. He has a goal for the first time in many, many years.
Romain Duris ("The Spanish Apartment," "Le Divorce") heretofore has always been the good guy: young and sweet yet in both of these roles he was always a little devious, a little devilish. Here, Duris is all about Cuban-heeled shoes, black leather jacket, buffed out body, dyed black hair and unflinching scowl. More importantly, Tom has a big black hole where his soul should be and he uses his love of music to fill it...little by little as a compulsive eater uses food to fill an emptiness that is never quite satiated. Duris gives a profound, thoughtful and passionate performance.
Director Jacques Audiard (the sublime "Read My Lips") has made a film redolent of darkness and misanthropy on one hand and hope and light on the other. And it is this ambiguity that makes this film snap with world-weary wit and non-sanctimonious truth.
Redemption through the intricacies and beauty found within and between the notes of a Bach Toccata? Oh, yes.
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on 16 October 2008
A property developer on the fringes of legality rediscovers his talent for the piano and seeks a career in music rather than as petty gangster. Sounds unconvincing on paper but onscreen this is a story that is engaging throughout. There are occasional bursts of violence but this story is character driven. The main character initially appears unsympathetic but the viewer is soon willing him on in his determined pursuit of a career which those around him, including his father, tell him is a distraction from the realities of life. Right to the very end of the film, he is pulled between the artistic and the violent.

I cannot recommend this highly enough.
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on 4 October 2009
One of the reviewers said they found the idea of redemption through music unconvincing. But I think this misses the point, the film doesn't answer the question it asks it. Because at the end we don't really know if the character has found any sort of redemption. As the film closes, the main character has just half killed someone in revenge? Is that redemption or does it mean his basic violent character is unchanged. The same reviewer says he found the idea of becoming a concert pianist unconvincing. But the main character doesn't become a concert pianist. He is with the Chinese girl who is the concert pianist. The leaves us watching the bloodstained main character watching her on stage. So in typically French style we are left with questions and more questions. This is not a criticism, it is just what the film does.

So after all that what did I think? Simply brilliant, exquisite phoitgraphy, acting, humour and a fascinating plot, and as most agree a superb central role. So 5 stars it is.
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on 16 January 2006
I picked up the region 1 DVD a few days ago, I was surprised it was on DVD as it is was fairly recently released. I had high hopes for this and it didn't disappoint. Everything about this is masterly.
The hand held camera work is brilliant particularly during the removal of squatters on the estates, especially the night sequences and the claustraphobia it creates makes it intense and unnerving.
The editing is wonderful, it keeps the pace going, the estate agents always seem to be on the move day and night and it creates that non stop energy about it but also allows the quieter more pensive moments to breath and reveal so much more.
The acting particulary Duris as Tom is brilliant and as often quoted is very reminiscent of early De Niro or Keitel. His father is a horrid old man who is out of his depth and I thought that perhaps they could have fleshed out why he had such affection for the old man, I couldn't see why Tom had such love for him after he screwed him up so much. Of particular note is the Asian piano teacher who does an incredible job given the repetative nature and restriction on her early scenes. She has great presence and uses her body brilliantly.
The music is probably the best use of music I have seen in a film for a while. There is a wide scope of genre's here as well suggesting Tom's appreciation for all types of music and the use of it in particular scenes is so well selected that you hardly notice the transition from Bach to Bloc Party it is so seemless and on point.
Audiard does a great job here in allowing things to feel as if they have developed naturally and with the roving camera it often felt like I was watching a documentary.
I would definitely recommend this and as such I will be checking out Audiard's previous films Self Made Hero and Read My Lips.
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on 15 May 2007
This is quite simply a beautiful film. It explores the depths of human emotions and the pain of conflicting loyalties - all the while with a beautiful musical score in the background. Really must be watched - preferably a few times - in order to gain the best experience from it. An easy 5 stars.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 November 2011
Jacques Audiard has been directing (very much off and on) since 1994 and only completed 5 films to date (2011) - albeit he has written a number of other screenplays over this period. With The Beat That My Heart Skipped and his 2009 feature A Prophet, he has made two of the most outstanding French films (along with Michael Haneke's Hidden) that I've seen in the 2000s.

The Beat That My Heart Skipped is an acting tour de force by Romain Duris in his role as the film's central protagonist, small-time gangster and budding pianist, Thomas Seyr. Duris reminds me very much of a young Robert De Niro (Meanstreets and Taxi Driver era) in his edgy and intense performance as the Parisian loner torn between his criminal existence and his (albeit somewhat fanciful) ambition to do something creative with his life by becoming a professional pianist. The other main thread of the film's narrative is Thomas' fractious, but nevertheless affectionate, relationship with his father Richard, brilliantly played by Niels Arestrup (who was also superb in A Prophet). Thomas pursues his two-track lifestyle, taking piano lessons which provide, by turns, both intense and tender moments, but eventually is drawn back into things criminal as his father becomes indebted to a Russian gangster, with violent and tragic consequences.

Duris is virtually a constant on-screen presence, to mesmerising effect, delivering a very impressive performance. I have seen Duris in two subsequent films to this, Dans Paris (mediocre film) and The Big Picture (in which he delivers a very good performance in a moderately good film). This film is his must-see performance.

For completeness, I should also say that this film is actually a remake of James Toback's 1978 version starring Harvey Keitel (which I must admit to not having seen).
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on 2 April 2006
I was intrigued to see this film after reading a lot of great reviews and it did live up to the hype. The story concerns a young man caught between a life of crime and violence and his rekindling of a childhood talent ( and love ) for playing the piano. You'll find yourself hooked, desperate to find out what will happen to him, will he manage to pursue his dreams or is he doomed to always be sucked back into the underworld?
Romain Dupris' performance is outstanding, the way he conveys a nervous, edgy energy is hypnotic and he looks pretty cool aswell! He's entirely believable with a kind of Liam Gallagher swagger (Don't let that put you off!) If this film hadn't been in a foreign language then an oscar would have been his.
Remember this is no Disney film, without giving away too much there's some nasty violence towards the end. This is a film that will definately leave a lasting impression.
P.S. What a genius title!!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 May 2007
Jacques Audiard, who previously gave us the very interesting Read My Lips (2001) and the cute and clever Venus Beauty Institute (1999), manages to create here a story about a character who is both a petty gangster and a pianist. Not exactly your usual combination of talents. Romain Duris plays Thomas Seyr who is that character. Duris brings an animal sensuality and an artist's sensitivity to the part. He is an actor of unusual skills and vitality. Audiard gets the most out of him.

In the beginning Tom Seyr is in apprenticeship to take over his father's way of life in a French version of the protection racket. Their particular hustle involves getting properties condemned by trashing them or infecting them with rats or some other vermin, forcibly throwing out squatters or tenants, then buying the property on the cheap, and then finally selling it at a nice profit. In the end, Tom...well, I can't give you the ending, but I can say that it is entirely agreeable and surprising with just a little twist on what we might expect.

Neils Arestrup plays the father. There are some other interesting characters and a lot of macho action, a bit of blood here and there, some quick and easy sex. And then there is an old piano teacher that Tom happens to run into one day who invites him to an audition. Tom has not played the piano seriously for years, but just seeing his old teacher brings back the thrill and the deep intimacy he once had with music, and recalls to him the career of his deceased mother, who was once a concert pianist who had hoped that her son would be too. He had the talent.

But of course playing the piano at that level is not something you can take up, let go, and then go back to. But Tom thinks maybe he can do it with a little practice. But he needs a teacher to prepare for the audition. When he tries to get one he is effectively laughed at since he is 28-years-old and is very much out of practice and indeed never really practiced that much. But by chance (there are a number of plot furtherances in this film that come about by chance--but that is not a problem because the chance meetings seem natural and are events that would probably happen eventually)--and so by chance he is hooked up with a young woman fresh from China who speaks no French, but is an expert pianist who needs a little money. She agrees to help him. Her name is Miao Lin. She is played brilliantly with subtlety and finesse by French-Vietnamese actress Linh Dan Pham, whom I previously saw in Indochine (1992) playing the adopted child of Catherine Deneuve's character.

The acting ability of Romain Duris and Linh Dan Pham are what carry this film. Audiard's direction is a bit scattered at times and especially in the beginning lacks focus, but a clever storyline and his ability to get great performances from the players overcome these faults.

See this for Romain Duris who gives a virtuoso performance and for Linh Dan Pham who captivates with restrained intensity.
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